Modern Traditions - 5 ways to include authentic wedding traditions in your modern wedding day

Modern Traditions - 5 ways to include authentic wedding traditions in your modern wedding day

After being a part of 20-30 weddings a year for the past 7 years, I've seen a lot of wedding days! And I'd like to share some of my advice and opinions. I have to admit, I love wedding traditions. The biggest challenge for most modern couples is figuring out how to include traditions in a way that feels authentic to them. Here are my top 5  tips for including authentic wedding traditions in your modern wedding day:

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Ka-Leigh & Mike | Lynx Ridge Halloween Wedding

Ka-Leigh & Mike | Lynx Ridge Halloween Wedding

I love weddings that are absolutely authentic to the couple. And I'm sure the moment Mike proposed to Ka-Leigh, they both knew their wedding was going to be on Halloween. Kris and I were so excited about being apart of their Lynx Ridge Halloween Wedding, and I knew it would be beautiful when Ka-Leigh described the theme as "Elegant Victorian Gothic".

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Catherine & Darcy | Calgary Spring Wedding

Catherine & Darcy | Calgary Spring Wedding

Catherine and Darcy lucked out with a perfect day for their Calgary spring wedding. I think the best way to describe Cathy & Darcy's wedding is Simple and Beautiful. As a bride, I think Catherine showed that you can have a simple wedding day that is incredibly beautiful and a complete reflection of you as a couple. In the planning stages, Catherine and Darcy were so easy going and I could tell the most important part of their wedding day was going to be enjoying moments with each other and everyone around them.

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Sled Island 2017 recap

Sled Island 2017 recap

Sled Island 2017 marks my eighth year as a member as a member of the photo crew for the festival. And it is one of the most challenging jobs I have done...but in the end it is also usually the most fun! This year was especially memorable because Kris (aka Valiska) achieved one of his long term dreams: to play a set at Central United during Sled Island.

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M & W - 1920s themed Carriage House Inn Calgary Wedding

M & W - 1920s themed Carriage House Inn Calgary Wedding

In Calgary, we see a lot of rustic styled weddings. While these are lovely, I always get excited when I meet a couple with a different plan! Melanie and Wilson planned an elegant 1920s themed wedding reception at the Carriage House Inn. They focused on lots of fun details that wove their theme together. Melanie and Wilson started their wedding day with a beautiful outdoor garden ceremony at the Calgary Zoo. One of my favourite perks of having part or all of your wedding at the zoo is that you have access to all the beautiful spots on the island for photos! Surprisingly, the dinosaur area has some of the best hidden spots... as long as you can hold off the busy Saturday afternoon crowds!

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Tammy & Tyler - Traditional Calgary Church wedding

Tammy & Tyler - Traditional  Calgary Church wedding

Tammy & Tyler Traditional Calgary Church wedding was such a beautiful combination of all so many things that were important to both their families. It was important to Tammy to wear a beautiful white ballgown. She still wanted to incorporate elements of Indian wedding traditions so her bridesmaids wore stunning yellow saris and henna. Their ceremony included some very unique rituals including washing each others feet and assembling a cross that they will display in their home.

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D&J - Calgary Stampede Wedding

D&J - Calgary Stampede Wedding

When I say Calgary Stampede wedding, you probably think of cowboy hats, horses and jeans. That is not this wedding! But Denise and Joel's wedding was so uniquely "Calgary" in many other ways. The last weekend in June this past summer was basically the hottest day of the year all day long. When Denise and Joel started planning their wedding on the Stampede Grounds at the Rotary house the week before the Calgary Stampede, they knew they would have an opportunity for some very unique photos since the midway would be partly built. Denise & Joel's wedding day started with a Traditional Chinese Tea Ceremony.

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Julia & Rob - Fall Cathedral wedding in downtown Calgary

We finished off last wedding season with Rob and Julia's fall cathedral wedding in downtown Calgary. This Thanksgiving wedding was particularly special for Kris and I since we now share our anniversary (October 11) with Rob and Julia. Rob and Julia's wedding day really felt like two families joining. I loved their beautiful ceremony which incorporated both Catholic and Mennonite traditions. St. Mary's Cathedral is such a beautiful place to celebrate love and Julia and Rob's families filled the building with this love, the highlight of which was the beautiful pipe organ and choir.

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Denise & Joel - Inglewood Engagement Session

Denise & Joel - Inglewood Engagement Session

One of my favourite ways to meet a new clients is when they come to me as a referral from past clients. Shortly after I posted Jay and Joanna's sneak peek this summer, I received an email from Denise and Joel wanting to chat about their wedding next summer. Within no time, we were planning their engagement session. As is often the case in Calgary, "fall" is usually about three days long and  it was especially weird this year since we the snow came at the beginning of September. Denise and Joel wanted a fall engagement session, but they wanted a more urban feel to their photos, so the fact that most of the leaves were already on the ground was ok. 

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Amy & John - Spring Garden Wedding

Amy & John - Spring Garden Wedding

Amy and John had their heart set on a beautiful Spring Garden Wedding. They picked their wedding day based on when the Lougheed House was available because they had their heart set on ceremony in the formal gardens. Now as anyone who has lived in Calgary for a while knows, June is about the only time of year that we get rain. The day before Amy and John's wedding it was terrible, grey and rainy all day long, so plans were made to move the ceremony inside, much to the bride and groom's disappointment. But on Saturday morning, the clouds cleared and and a we had the most beautiful, sunny day in June.

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Sled Island 2014 - Calgary Concert Photographer

Sled Island 2014 - Calgary Concert Photographer

Every year in June, I take a little break from weddings and spend a week at my favourite music festival in the city, Sled Island. Last year, the festival had to be cancelled half way through because of flooding, so everyone involved this year was really itching to for it to happen.I have been on the Photo Crew with the festival for 5 years now, and every year I say that it makes me a better photographer. Oh, and every year, if I am shooting one of the Olympic Plaza shows, I promise you it will absolutely pour rain!

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Shauna and Sadie - Wedding Photos Downtown Calgary

Shauna and Sadie - Wedding Photos Downtown Calgary

This very snowy winter has been a great opportunity for some very romantic winter wedding photos in downtown Calgary. When I met Shauna and Sadie in late summer, Sadie explained that they were planning a November wedding because she wanted snowy wedding photos. In Calgary, you never know what November will bring. We might have 5 feet of snow, or just brown grass and mud. Well, just for Sadie this year, we had a November filled with snow, complete with a fresh dusting of beautiful white snow on the morning of their wedding. Shauna and Sadie were married at their church, Hillhurst United, on the Remembrance Day Long weekend. This made it especially fitting that we headed over just a few blocks for their portraits at the new Soldiers Memorial along Memorial Drive at the 10th Street Bridge. It quickly became my new favourite spot for photos since it provided a beautiful city skyline along with awesome riverbank views.

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Aames and Angela - Calgary wedding photos at Valley Ridge Golf Course

Aames and Angela - Calgary wedding photos at Valley Ridge Golf Course

Aames and Angela spent so much time preparing for their wedding day. It was evident throughout all their details, and I was glad to be there to capture their wedding photos. Angela was a real “DIY” bride and she did such an amazing job at thinking about every detail of the day and then hand-crafting every piece herself. Aames and Angela also paid special attention to incorporate special Filipino customs and traditions to their, including having all the guys in traditional Barongs. After a beautiful Catholic mass at St. Joseph’s Parish, we spent the afternoon taking photos throughout Crescent Heights. In May, Calgary weather rarely cooperates, but we had a beautiful afternoon with a nice breeze and the perfect amount of clouds! One of the best parts of Aames and Angela’s wedding was being included in the amazing amount of love that their close knit family and friends have for them!

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Sled Island 2012 - Calgary Concert Photography

Sled Island 2012 - Calgary Concert Photography

Once a year I take a break from my normal photography to immerse myself in concert photography. Sled Island is one of my favourite weeks of the year. If you have never experienced this magical week in June, you are missing out. Downtown Calgary is often a dreary, quiet place after 6pm. But during Sled Island, the streets are filled with people on bicycles racing from one venue to the next. There is always 100 things to see at once during Sled Island, since it happens at multiple venues simultaneously. I also love the rush of concert photography: waiting for that awesome moment, feeling the pulse of the crowd in a small intimate venue, and the interesting and dynamic stage lighting.

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Sarah & Brian – Downtown Calgary Engagement Photography

Sarah & Brian – Downtown Calgary Engagement Photography

On one the longest day of the year, I met Sarah & Brian in downtown Calgary to take some beautiful sunset engagement photos. Sarah and Brian are in love with the city of Calgary and wanted to showcase it’s urban beauty in their session. We started in the Crescent Heights area to really show off the beautiful city views from the hill. Then we headed into the East Village to catch the sun setting over the river. Our session ended with the fun city lights in Olympic Plaza. Sarah and Brian are such a fun, relaxed and affectionate couple. It was so easy to grab beautiful shots of them because they put each other at ease and just melt into beautiful poses.

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Todd & Arlee – Calgary Zoo Engagement photographer

Todd & Arlee – Calgary Zoo Engagement photographer

Todd and Arlee are such an amazing, beautiful couple. I met them at a Bridal Show in Red Deer and I cannot wait to shoot their wedding. Todd and Arlee both have told me they waited a long time to find each other…even living 4 minutes apart for years before they met! Todd and Arlee love to take weekend trips together around Alberta, so we met at the Calgary Zoo early on a Sunday morning for these photos. The Calgary Zoo is very special to them, since it was where they had their first official date. We also wandered into Inglewood and found a park for our football themed engagement photography.

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